Montedio Yamagata

Full Name: Montedio Yamagata
Nickname: Montedio, Mountain Kings

Founded: 1984 (as NEC Yamagata Soccer Club)
Home Ground: ND Soft Stadium Yamagata 
Manager/Coach: Shinji Kobayashi (Japan) 


League Champions: -
League Cup Winners: -
Emperor’s Cup Winners: -
Super Cup Winners: -
AFC Champions League Winners: -


Located in Yamagata, the capital of the mountainous Yamagata Prefecture, the club was founded in 1984 as the club team of NEC’s Yamagata factory. Despite being a very rural area, the club managed to win its regional leagues a few times before joining the now-defunct Japan Football League in 1994.

In preparation for the J. League Second Division (J2) being created in the 1999 season, the club and NEC agreed to separate in 1998, allowing the club to enter the professional era. This included changing the name to Montedio Yamagata, using the Italian words Monte (Mountain) and Dio (God). A third place finish in the final season of the Japan Football League was enough to grant them entry to the new division as a founding member.

With just a few exceptions, Montedio struggled to really put together any real challenge for promotion to the top division until a decade later, in 2008, where they managed to finish 2nd and claimed an automatic promotion spot.

An initially-impressive run in the 2009 J1 season saw the team, predicted by media to finish at the bottom of the table and essentially be the league’s punching bag, surprise many and stave off relegation by five points.

The team’s regional and relative newcomer status has seen them labeled them as ‘underdogs’ of J1, however their ability to punch above their weight has been admired by many, as has their thriftiness in the use of effective loan signings from other J1 clubs.

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